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Thread: Magazine Change and Pistol Transition Times

  1. #1
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    Question Magazine Change and Pistol Transition Times

    I get emails from various trainers/sources and one in particular caught my eye and had me question the results a bit. The content was essentially the difference in time between doing an emergency reload with a rifle vs. a transition to your sidearm. The distance wasn't specified or any type of accuracy standard, nor was the ready position with the rifle and whether or not the pistol was drawn from concealment or not (I assume so); but essentially the conclusion was that it is MUCH faster to transition than to do a mag change.

    These were the times listed:

    Mag Change--------Transition to Pistol
    1 ---------9.46 -----------4.04
    2 ---------7.15 -----------5.24
    3 ---------8.56 -----------2.18
    4 ---------11.05 ---------3.29
    5 ---------11.01 ---------- 2.16
    6 --------- 11.19 ---------- 5.23
    7 ----------5.85 -----------2.18
    8 ---------- 6.42 ----------2.46

    The rifle transition times seemed really slow to me (even with the lack of information given), but the pistol seemed about right.

    Out of the gate today (cold) at the range I decided to test this theory for myself. I was at the 10 yard line, BCM 14.5 mid-length fixed irons only, IPSC target, Glock 19 RMR from concealment. All shots were made "sighted" from the low ready position and deliberate so as to ensure an A zone hit. Reloads were bolt lock/emergency and there was no attempt to retain any magazine; I was reloading the rifle with a mag in my front pocket - no fancy nylon in this case.

    Essentially, start in low ready, upon beep from timer mount rifle fire one shot, perform reload and fire second shot; or start in low ready, upon beep mount rifle fire one shot, transition to pistol and fire one shot.

    Here are my results:

    ---------------- Mag Change ------------------------------ Transition to Pistol
    1 - --------------------4.02 -----------------------------3.62
    2 - --------------------3.45 -----------------------------3.90
    3 - --------------------3.30 -----------------------------3.62
    4 - --------------------3.35 ------------------------------3.65
    5 - --------------------3.63 ------------------------------3.83

    I would like to tighten up my rifle reload times, and think I could probably do better with some form of red dot (I deliberately handicapped myself with an irons only gun); I definitely don't consider myself the fastest guy around. I understand transitioning to a sidearm from a tactical perspective (diagnosing a malfunction/reload vs. a simple transition to pistol); but I wonder if it is actually faster?

    On another forum the discussion never got passed the tactical advantage to transitioning, and seemed to stay in the "it depends" discussion of the when and the why. That is not my concern with this post, I completely understand that use of cover, distance to adversary (muzzle strike, knife or hand to hand) and other issues come into play; this is just a simple question as to what takes less time.

    Anyone else ever compared their times, what were your results/times?

  2. #2
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    The original list is just a series of numbers without knowing what kind of carbine, mag carrier, types of transitions done, etc. there's a ton of things out there that influence your time

  3. #3
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    Thank you for your reply, and yes no doubt there is a great lack of information in the original set of numbers.

    I suppose in theory however, do you agree that a transition can be faster than performing a reload - all things being equal?

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    Transition is WAY over glamorized stuff for 99 percent of the people who fixate on it. Most people would be better off practicing their I Won The Lottery Dance... as the odds of that being needed are MUCH greater.
    "You people have too much time on your hands." - scottryan

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    Quote Originally Posted by BTL BRN View Post
    I suppose in theory however, do you agree that a transition can be faster than performing a reload - all things being equal?
    In theory, yes, it's entirely possible. I don't have the numbers with me, but within about 15 yards, I'm faster on transitions, without sacrificing effective accuracy. Past a certain distance the time that I gained by transitioning vs reloading is spent (and eventually overdrawn) by lining up my handgun sights.

    The biggest factor I see, in addition to the variables that NCPatrolAR listed, is whether or not distance, target size, and handgun proficiency allow the shooter to make the shot within an acceptable standard of accuracy.

    Put another way, despite having lightning fast mechanics, your handgun accuracy may not be up to task. In your test, you overcame this by establishing an accuracy standard- making the drill a "hit to hit" vs a "shot to shot" measurement. Good. We don't know how that shook out in the original test you cited.
    Last edited by Chameleox; 06-27-14 at 13:18.
    The advice above is worth exactly what you paid for it.

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    I think you are assuming that the issue with the primary weapon is an empty magazine. That may not be the case. There may be a malfunction or breakage. Better to train for the secondary, if you bring one when you roll out.

  7. #7
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    Yep. For me a transition is likely faster, but it'd be a scenario based decision... distance to target being a major factor.
    "You people have too much time on your hands." - scottryan

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    Quote Originally Posted by controlledpairs2 View Post
    I think you are assuming that the issue with the primary weapon is an empty magazine. That may not be the case. There may be a malfunction or breakage. Better to train for the secondary, if you bring one when you roll out.
    Good call. The first numbers posted are more in line with an attempt to remedy a malfunction, saying, "aw, F$$$ it!", and transitioning.
    The advice above is worth exactly what you paid for it.

  9. #9
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    Pull the pistol when you can solve the problem with the pistol you have on.
    People get far too concerned about what distance they should be pulling a pistol and at what distance they should f**k with their carbine.
    A transition is just like a draw, training should focus on getting the sights into your line of sight as quickly as possible, everything after that is a function of marksmanship.
    Transitioning is not a constant, it is a choice.
    If I am working as precision support for an entry team 250 meters away, and my precision rifle fails to fire, it won't do anybody any good for me to pull the G19 on my side.
    Conversely, if I am at room distance and get no bang, I don't have time to do anything other than pull my pistol or go to physical contact (which is also a frequently overlooked option).

    If you are in a fight, and something impedes your ability to adequately project force, correct that problem or remove yourself from the fight.
    Jack Leuba
    Director, Military and Government Sales
    Knight's Armament Company
    jleuba@knightarmco.com

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Failure2Stop View Post
    If you are in a fight, and something impedes your ability to adequately project force, correct that problem or remove yourself from the fight.
    This is the part that is rarely taught, rep'd or discussed.

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